History of the Breed
Recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1936 as Staffordshire Terrier and later changed its name to American Staffordshire Terrier in 1972 to avoid confusion with the smaller Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Am Staff's roots date back to the 1800's.
It was from the fighting bulldog-terrier crosses that dedicated breeders succeeded in producing a loyal, trusting, docile animal that would function well as a family pet and did not possess aggressiveness toward other animals or people. It was during this time that breeders of American Pit Bull Terriers were concentrating on producing their own strain of bulldog-terrier cross, breeding solely for "performance".
The Am Staff and the APBT are 2 separate breeds and should not be confused for one another. Although they may resemble each other in looks, they were bred for different purposes, and the only common link they share is their ancestry
Probably the most famous early Am Staff was "Pete" of the "Our Gang" comedy TV series. "Pete" was among the first AKC recognized Am Staffs.
An American Staffordshire Terrier should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put together dog, muscular but agile, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long-leeged or racy in outline.
The Am Staff Personality
The Am Staff combines power with grace and agility. He is bright and alert and has boundless courage. He is superbly gentle with children, intensely loyal and affectionate. The Am Staff's endless patience and great tolerance to pain makes them the perfect children's companion, taking any and all sorts of abuse in stride. Am Staffs can also live in harmony with other dogs and pets.
Activities for Am Staffs
Am Staffs do very well at dog shows, in both the obedience and conformation rings. Their great desire to please makes them highly competitive and their happy attitude makes them a joy to watch. Am Staffs also excel at weight pulling, tracking, agility, flyball, and as therapy dogs to children, the elderly and the invalid. Am Staffs are also used as farm dogs, and many work on TV commercials and movies. There is no limit to what you can do with this very versatile breed.
Because of the Am Staff's high energy level and their compact size, they can get a lot of exercise even in an apartment, but they love their outdoor romps, and most Am Staffs love to swim.